I got invited by owner/drummer Paul Scholten to check out a session at his County Q studios in the Berry Hill area of Nashville last week - very impressive. Even though their (3 building?) complex was real nice, that wasn't the highlight. The standout for me was the quality of the musicians and the engineer, and how incredibly fast these guys burned through the 4-song "demo" they were doing that night.
What I found notable was how all the musicians really approached the session thinking like producers: They knew how to stay out of each others' way, they self-monitored any "clams" (mistakes) and requested punch-ins (fix its) at certain spots, they knew when to lay back, when to "push," when to fill, etc. They made the producers' job very easy.
Their engineer (Houston) was right there, too; jumping to whatever punch-in the players may have wanted to touchup toot-sweet; complete & total efficiency. I guess some folks might complain that sessions like this are too machine-like, but that's a completely subjective conversation for another time.
I didn't get a lot of details about the players (a guitarist, bass/keyboard guy, and a fiddle/mando guy), but based on how fast they worked & how tight they all were, I'm guessing these boys have also been heard on their share of Top 40 country records. Which brings us to another topic:
If a producer uses the same players for a "demo" that are used for major label artists AND uses the same studio as the big budget sessions... what exactly is the difference between a demo and an album? Although it may be a somewhat revealing (cynical?) fact about the music business, it's my understanding that many producers/artists do a note-for-note recreation of a demo for their records. Which also means they've been known to pull up the EXACT same tracks from the "demo" for their record. Makes you wonder exactly how many "demos" have been released a full-on radio singles, eh?
Labels: county q, nashville demos, nashville session players, paul scholten